The entertainment industry is often perceived as just glitz, glamour, and stars. At its core, it is comprised of thousands of business entities, effectively running cohesively to generate a significant stream of revenue. The gradual rise of the internet and the lack of preparation for the coming changes within the entertainment industry have brought significant troubles for them in the past decade. However, it has also created several new opportunities for the industry. If used effectively, it allows for a more personal experience, and has the ability to tap into the voyeuristic qualities that many are drawn to.

Social media as a marketing tool has allowed the average person to get a first hand glimpse of their favorite celebrity’s lives. The advent of smart phones has integrated pictures and movies into this experience, broadening interest and allowing for a more personal experience. The direct influence and manipulation of knowledge via a VIP’s social stream has also allowed these savvy business-men and women to market themselves and their brands in a whole new way. Entertainers participate in social media to promote and market themselves, by using their lives for content development. They keep their base engaged and responsive to push their product; be it music, movies, books, etc.

An illustrative example of this is Justin Bieber. The teen pop icon recently hit 12 million followers on his Twitter account. These ‘Beliebers’ as he calls them are so engaged in his daily activity, it is said that his account alone requires 3% of Twitter’s server.

The success of his account is largely due to his already popular music fame. How he uses this is what makes the account a great example of Social Media use. The account fundamentally enables conversation and sharing. This is the basis of social interaction. It is also what businesses strive to achieve by partaking in social media marketing.

Bieber shares his preferences, encouraging users to follow suit. The realm of influence he holds in the minds of consumers is where his real marketability and ability to generate revenue comes in. He recently did so by promoting his adoration for Sean Kingston’s album. By doing so, he opens up the conversation by stating his personal preference, and persuades others that the album will also be to their liking based on his ‘stamp of approval’ of the work. He further allows conversations by asking his followers to let him know about THEIR daily activities and preferences.

The result is an attentive and engaged audience, increasing the likelihood that they will become conversions to a desired action (sales, attendance). Building an engaged community is essential is any social media marketing strategy.

In the case of his personal account, promotion doesn’t come from Bieber as much as it comes from his fans; a welcomed return for his interactions. Followers will generally tag him in their post of unrelated activities throughout their day. Bieber is alerted to the post and responds to his follower, as they were personal friends. His comments on their daily activity spark excitement amongst those following him, and tend to follow up their new message with tweets of praise and /or excitement. On many occasions, this feeling of inclusiveness in his life and his ability to reach out to them and make them feel special and has strengthened his core fan-base, making it easier for them to inadvertently promote on his behalf by tapping into their own realm of influence. This is often done through either social means, or word of mouth marketing.

Bieber’s Twitter account makes people talk. Companies thrive for the level of personality and influence that he has. Bieber has followed the first rule of social media. Listening. He makes people talk, and in turn, they spread the word about the Justin Bieber brand world-wide; an integral part of his own marketing and source of revenue.

Communication and content development are not only two vital aspects to the 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing, they hold true consistently throughout several alternative marketing means. This is the manner in which Social Media was meant to used. It’s most likely how we use it as individuals. It’s when a corporate approach overwhelms your instinct, reaching people on a personal level becomes difficult. Bieber’s account is what many businesses intend on accomplishing, and illuminates the ideals of a ‘community’. Your sales, branding, and reputation management can all begin with listening. Try it.

Social Networking in the last year has taken a new shape. As many folks continue to sign up with social networks, some are moving beyond the network model into more of a social streaming or life-streaming model. This new model seems to offer the best of several worlds, literally. New, socially-aware content aggregators are helping socially adept, bloggers and community participants share at a meta level. Newly adopted services such as FriendFeed, allow their users to share a wide-range of social activities.

For example, a video posted on YouTube, a blog entry on your personal or business blog and a post in Facebook will all show up in your FriendFeed. Currently, 43 services are monitored by FriendFeed for their users. So if you’re listening to music on Pandora or and posting photos on Flickr, FriendFeed is monitoring your activity. The information is then neatly delivered via RSS. Embed code is also available for your website or just add their Facebook application to your Facebook site.

Combine additional activity from your friends and family and things start picking up quickly. As interest grows, social participation becomes more or less apparent in your sphere of influence.

If you’re very socially active in one or more of the services monitored by FriendFeed, your popularity may increase. Ahh, in walks another marketing technique and the reason for this post, “brand streaming“. Although the business case for using FriendFeed and “brand streaming” is still developing, life streaming aka life-casting is already proving to be a valuable tool in developing brand recognition.

More to come as we monitor the effectiveness of life streaming at increasing brand awareness.